Manchester United confirm Cristiano Ronaldo return
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The new season for Manchester United has just got going. Leeds and Wolves have been beaten so far, with a 1-1 draw with Southampton in between. There’s the return of Cristiano Ronaldo to come, too, with the forward recently returning from Juventus. But, with one eye on the future, Express Sport will now take a look at how things could change drastically over the next 12 months. Here are eight of our predictions…
Erling Haaland signed
As mentioned above, United have signed Ronaldo.
But they still intend to go after Erling Haaland regardless, with the Borussia Dortmund strike a priority target for next summer’s transfer window.
United see Haaland as their future, as a player capable of bringing the Premier League and Champions League titles to Old Trafford.
And if all goes to plan, the Norway international will be leading their line next season. Which may lead to a new role for Ronaldo…
New Cristiano Ronaldo role
United know Ronaldo is for the short-term.
Though the forward wants to keep going for as long as possible, age is bound to catch up to him eventually.
And if United sign Haaland, it may actually be the beginning of the end for the Portugal international.
Ronaldo is unlikely to start most matches in the No 9 position, meaning he may have to settle for a place on the bench if the Borussia Dortmund striker waltzes in the door.
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Kieran Trippier in
We’re expecting United to renew their interest in Kieran Trippier, potentially in January.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wanted the right-back this summer but, in the end, was forced to make do with what he’s got.
Diogo Dalot probably won’t start too often, meaning the Portugal international will look to leave next summer.
And it’s possible that, with that being the case, Trippier will find himself back on their radar.
No Paul Pogba
United want Paul Pogba to stay.
The France international has just a year left on his current Old Trafford contract, meaning he can negotiate with foreign clubs in January.
If he wanted to stay, and was fully committed on the matter, the France international would likely have signed his new deal by now.
But the fact he hasn’t speaks volumes. So we’re expecting Pogba to depart, with Real Madrid, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain all admirers.
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And no Edinson Cavani either
United nearly lost Edinson Cavani on deadline day, with Barcelona coming close to snapping him up.
But while he’s at the club for now, it’s likely he’ll leave next summer instead.
Cavani won’t start too many matches in the wake of Ronaldo’s return, something the 34-year-old won’t be entirely happy with.
And given his determination to return to South America, it’s hard to see him extending his United stay into a third year. Especially if Haaland joins…
Declan Rice pursued (or signed)
United know they still need a defensive midfielder.
And while they were linked with Ruben Neves, it seems as though they’ll go after Declan Rice instead.
Both John Murtough and Solskjaer are admirers of the West Ham star, who has sparkled for the Hammers and for England over the past year.
So it’s possible they’ll snap him up, providing they can get David Moyes’ side to sell and are able to fend off competition from Chelsea for his signature.
One of David De Gea or Dean Henderson to leave
United are well-stocked when it comes to goalkeepers, with David De Gea and Dean Henderson both top options to have.
But if they choose one over the other, then a possible departure is to be expected.
De Gea, at the age of 31, won’t want to be playing second fiddle to anybody.
And the same can be said for Henderson, who knows he won’t be short of options if he chooses to leave Old Trafford behind.
More young blood
United have always given youth a chance. And despite this summer’s transfer business, that’s unlikely to stop while Solskjaer is in charge.
Hannibal Mejbri, Shola Shoretire and Anthony Elanga could all have roles to play this term.
And so too may Charlie McNeill and Joe Hugill, who have flourished at youth level.
So we’re expecting Solskjaer to stick to tradition, with United naming an academy player in their squad for every single match since the 1960s.
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